Quebec City Facts

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Quebec City is the capital city of the Canadian province of Quebec. The city is located at a commanding position on the Saint Lawrence River, making it the only city in North America to have its metropolitan area completely surrounded by water. Quebec City’s population is over 800,000 and the metropolitan area has nearly 2 million people. The city’s economy includes the public sector, manufacturing, and tourism as significant components of its economic base.

5:02 mins video of Quebec City

  • 1. It was selected as the capital of Quebec in 1608 by Samuel de Champlain. It was originally called the City of New-France and was almost completely abandoned in 1629. The city had to be reestablished in 1634, following which it became the capital of New France.
  • 2. Quebec City is the only North American city with its metropolitan area entirely surrounded by water.
  • 3. The city was the capital of the former New France colony. The city is home to many monuments and historical building, such as the Chateau Frontenac.
  • 4. In 1854, over 320 men were killed in one of the worst railway accidents in Canadian history at Quebec City’s train station. Railroad Accidents in Canada: A Chronology of Significant Railway Disasters in Canada from 1836 to 1946.
  • 5. Quebec City has a relatively low crime rate compared to Canada’s other major cities. The city’s murder rate is less than half of that in Toronto and Vancouver.
  • 6. Quebec City has a large student population as the city is home to both in-province and out-of-province campuses of several universities such as Laval University, Universite du Quebec a Trois-Rivieres, Universite de Sherbrooke, and Universite de Montreal.
  • 7. Quebec City’s economy has been largely driven by the public sector for years; however, the economy is diversifying as manufacturing and tourism play a larger role in the city’s economic output.
  • 8. Quebec City is one of the oldest cities in North America, with the first settlement established in 1608.

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  • 9. Quebec City is famous for its Winter Carnival, which is one of the biggest winter festivals in the world.
  • 10. Quebec City is home to the annual FrancoFolies de Montreal, a world music festival held over 30 days in June that attracts over 800,000 visitors annually.
  • 11. Quebec City’s Saint-Roch neighborhood is considered to be the oldest district of the city and was named after a small church located there that was built in 1647. The church became famous as early as 1765 when it served as a refuge for local people during British bombardment of the city during Lord Jeffrey Amherst's campaign against Montreal (during Seven Years' War) and its unofficial name has been a reference to this event ever since.
  • 12. The name Quebec comes from an Algonquian word meaning “where the river narrows.”
  • 13. The name of the city’s historic district, Vieux-Quebec (Old Quebec) is a French term that has been used in various ways for over 300 years to describe not only part of the city but also its surrounding rural areas and even parts of present-day Ontario.
  • 14. The famous Château Frontenac Hotel is located in Quebec City. It was built between 1886 and 1892. It is the most photographed hotel in the world.
  • 15. Québec, formerly spelled ‘Quebeck’ in English, was originally used by Augustin Le Gardeur de Courtemanche in his 1682 map of New France to refer to a village he founded near the mouth of the Chaudière River; hence the name “Quebec” (literally “where the river narrows”).